Love and Other Drugs
Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway and Oliver Platt
Directed by Edward Zwick (Blood Diamond)
Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, pervasive language, and some drug material
Appropriate for ages 18+
Based on a true story, Love and Other Drugs tells the tale of a Pfizer Pharmaceutical Representative (Gyllenhaal) that falls in love with a young woman he meets in a doctor’s office (Hathaway). Only after falling for her does he realize that the relationship will be challenging due to her having Parkinson’s Disease and that neither one of them are ready for the road ahead.
This movie takes on two completely different personas. First there is the story of a drug rep. Having worked as a Pfizer rep for the exact same period that our hero did, I can tell you that they got almost everything wrong. The training was way different, as was the day-to-day. The basic theme of the pharmaceutical rep adversely effecting the physician and their prescribing is somewhat true for that time, but taken way over the top. I realize that there are some artistic choices that needed to take place in order to make a political point, but it felt like there wasn’t an advisor present helping them figure out how to get the details even remotely close.
Some of the problem with this lies in the lousy job the props team did. Jake starts out working in a cheap electronics store in 1996 where they are selling flat screen televisions that didn’t exist for years. This is just the start to errors that made the entire production look incredibly sloppy.
But then there comes the second persona – that of the love story. Here they got it right. Jake and Anne worked together as husband and wife in Brokeback Mountain and it is more than apparent that they still have the chemistry. The amount of nudity and sex is a bit alarming, as well as excessive, but overall helps to act as a device to bring the audience in as voyeurs looking deep into the couple’s lives. You feel their love, their pain, their happiness, as well as their sadness.
So as a love story, the film works very well; but as a statement about the pharmaceutical industry, its lack of authenticity works against it. C+